An Oasis of Lyrical Sculpture

April 29 – October 29, 2023
Sculpture by Kate Raudenbush with Poetry by Sha Michele

The world premiere of Incanto: An Oasis of Lyrical Sculpture is the highlight of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden from April 29-October 29, 2023. Included with Garden admission; free for members. 

  • Five intricately designed, allegorical sculptures accompanied by poetry invite a journey of self-discovery and connection with others and the natural world.
  • This is the premiere exhibition of New York City-based sculptor Kate Raudenbush, with poetry by Sha Michele in a friendship born from the legendary Burning Man community.
  • Each piece is intentionally designed to be in dialogue with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s landscape.
  • Most of the sculptures invite guests to step inside. With heights reaching up to seventeen feet, they serve as portals to other worlds of thought, meaning, and healing.
  • Evening hours: Dramatically lit from within, the Incanto sculptures offer multi-sensory experiences inviting further exploration at night. The Garden has evening hours May 3-Oct. 28; Wednesdays through Saturdays; until 9 p.m. and food and drink are available for purchase in the Garden Cafe. The Garden Shop also has extended hours on select evenings.
  • Community Partners: on the second Friday evening of each month (May-September), the Garden collaborates with Gallery5 and other community partners on programming related to the Incanto exhibit. See the calendar for Incanto-related events.

The debut of these original works of sculpture and poetry explores our human nature and invites guests into a transformational space of self-inquiry. Each sculpture of Incanto will emerge out of the garden landscape in dialogue with a poem, with the intention of creating a sacred container where words, as questions and even incantations, activate the space and spark creative thought among guests.


Enchanted Evenings & More

Dramatically lit from within, the Incanto sculptures offer multi-sensory experiences inviting further exploration at night. Starting May 3, the Garden has evening hours on Wednesdays through Saturdays until 9 p.m. with dining. Events include special Gallery5 programming, Flowers After 5 concerts and more.

See Calendar


See sculpture locations on the Garden Map

Resonant Passage

Location: Sunken Garden in the Central Garden

Reflecting our life path, the hammered steps suggest the arduous uphill climb of human evolution. In the mirrored surface, we pause for reflection: of ourselves, the world around us, and others that mirror us back to ourselves.

On the other side of the pyramid, another journey—sometimes hidden from view—is taking place. Like different paths up the same mountain, we meet others along the way, intersecting and elevating our lives. The portal illustrates the serendipity of meeting others at exactly the right time in your life’s story arc, supporting your path, and experiencing the flow of life along with you.

The pyramid is symbolic of human striving for knowledge, a connection to something larger than yourself, and finding a sense of purpose. The arcs illustrate the different paths we each take on our journey to self-realization, yet remind you that you are never alone.


Source Code

Location: Terraced Lawn Near Conservatory

Source Code focuses on the relations between the power and grandeur of human achievement, and the ultimate power of Mother Earth. It acknowledges that our existence relies on the bounty of Earth’s resources. The ultimate source code, it seems, is not found in technological code; but rather in the vast resources of the plants, animals, earth, air, and waters that support our interdependent existence.


Seed of Self

Location: Streb Conifer Garden

From this seat in the now, you gaze into the mandala of the past and recall the traces of your life lived up to this point. Memories full of complexity, patterns of choices, seeds of action planted and grown down paths taken and not taken. Visualize the light of curiosity, passion, ideals and human relationships of your life leading up to this moment now. And there, reflecting in its center, is an orb containing both the witness and creator of this present moment: you.

You are seated in a garden, on a bench, on the edge of now, in the framework of the future of your life yet to be lived. This framework is a trellis on which to nurture the growth of opportunity and possibility.

Time, and what you do with it, is at the root of this Seed of Self. This space is intended to become an energetic focal point for meditation, and a mandala of personal meaning and direction.


Breaking Point

Location: Flagler Garden Near Monet Bridge

Conceived in 2020, this sculpture attempts to capture the spirit of transformation in a year that shook the world. In the wave of global uncertainty, fear of the pandemic, and distrust of power structures, so many around the world felt they were at their breaking point. This was experienced personally, socially, politically, with our concepts of justice and racial understanding at a critical inflection point. Our collective health, both mental and physical, cried out for healing.

This sculpture is a symbol of evolving through struggle. The spears are a symbol of courage and facing fears head-on, trusting that you will find the light in the darkness.

How we heal and how we transform through life’s challenges shapes profound ways. The end of something is also a beginning. Change is evolution.



Location: Flagler Garden Lawn

This portal creates a symbolic passage that oscillates from form to formless, defining the invisible energy that we leave behind when we dematerialize from this physical plane of existence.

If physics tells us that matter and energy cannot be destroyed, but only change form, then the transition to a non-material presence might merely be a return to that crucible of energy, reintroducing spirit into a vast web of intergenerational resonance that flows through all things.

It is in our memory that we can hold those we love, carrying them with us, feeling the energetic echo of their presence created in the wake of their departure. We honor them by keeping their memory alive, and living a life of integrity to pass on to future generations.


What materials are used in Incanto?

Follow the Creative Process

Work-in-Progress on Social Media

The artists are creating the exhibit especially for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We’ll share their work-in-progress with exclusive content in the months leading up to the show’s debut. We invite you on the journey as these two artists create an experience specially designed for you.

Meet the Artists

Kate Raudenbush and Sha Michele

Kate Raudenbush (left) and Sha Michele (right) began collaborating at Burning Man after meeting there in 2000, and later creating Raudenbush’s first sculpture for the 2004 event. Kate has since become known for large-scale, allegorical works in laser-cut steel that form immersive, high-concept, experiential spaces for human connection. In her poems and art, Sha Michele draws on her African-American, Native American and European ancestry to address questions of heritage, cultural definitions, longing, and belonging.

Kate Raudenbush is an award-winning sculpture artist who emerged out of the creative vanguard of Burning Man to exhibit her work widely in the U.S. and internationally at art fairs, civic squares, arts festivals, galleries and museums. She has forged a creative path in Seoul, Amsterdam and Tulum, to Hollywood, Montreal and Washington, D.C.  Poet Sha Michele has storied experience as a former actress and designer in Los Angeles, working with Spike Lee, Jamie Foxx and Gita Salem, in addition to her talent as an internationally exhibited designer of exotic, nature-inspired, totemic jewelry.  Both artists incorporate a range of cultures, symbols and mythology in their work. They are thrilled to bring this thought-provoking, dynamic exhibit to the greater Richmond community.

Instagram: @KateRaudenbush and @ShaMicheleArts


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